Swimming with sea lions

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March 21st 2018
Published: March 23rd 2018
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After having a bit of a lie in and going for breakfast we got ready to be picked up by Fernando at 10am. He had left us a message with reception the day before to confirm he would be arriving at 10 which was nice and he was true to his word arriving bang on time. We drove through Miraflores towards the city of centre of Lima before veering off towards the harbour where he dropped us off and confirmed he would pick us up again at 2pm to take us back to the hotel after the trip. We were introduced to the guide who spoke English well and waited with three other girls who seemed to be going on the same trip. A few more people joined and when we got on board the boat at 11am to set off there were 9 of us. The weather was nice and warm but cloudy at first before the sun started to shine later on. First we headed towards an island that looked very desert like and the guide explained the island had a navy base on it. There was also a sign which seemed to be carved or drawn into the dirt/Rock on the side of the hill above the naval base and we learned it was the symbol for the navy. Just below this were three houses with red roof's and some palm trees just there on their own. It was strange to see as they didn't really belong there but we later learned it was the presidents summer home. Ironically later on tat day we learned that the president of Peru had actually tended his resignation that day due to corruption so I guess he won't be visiting there again!

Once past this island the water started to get very choppy as two currents met in a channel where waves actually broke and the boat lurched heavily up and down. It wasn't too bad and was actually a bit fun! As we travelled through this channel we saw some humble penguins (that's the name!) just chilling out on the rocks. They looked so cute and were only a couple of feet tall. There was also some Pelicans and some other birds with white heads which were known as Peruvian boobies! We giggled and asked the guide if he knew what it meant in English but he did and also laughed. As we travelled further along towards the Palomino islands we started to see a few sea lions on the rocks. There were also local fisherman out here fishing in small wooden boats with nets. When we reached the islands there were very rocky and were split into three. We were taken past the first island which was known as the kindergarten as it was where all the 'kids' hung out on the rocks, the next island was the retirement home where all the granny and grandad sea lions were lying before we made it to the third island which was where the alpha males hung out along with some more inquisitive pups. It was here where we were going to swim. The noise of the sea lions was a strange mix of sounds like dogs barking but also sheep baa-ing. They all seemed to have their own noise and at times it was very loud.

Most of the people on the boat had decided to swim with them so we all got changed into our bikinis and wetsuits before jumping in off the side of the boat wearing life jackets. Steph made a graceful jump straight off the side where as I sort of flopped in holding on for dear life until I fell in, you could tell who the natural swimmer was! Once in the water it was so cold it took my breath away and it took a few mins to get used to. Once everyone was in we floated over towards the island and lots of sea lions where all excitedly swimming around. We had been told not to get too close to the island as they were territorial and the alpha makes wouldn't like it and could possibly attack. It was however the juvenile sea lions who would be swimming around us as they were inquisitive. They don't have any natural predators around here so they aren't really afraid of anything. We were told that if we floated on our back and put our feet up kicking a little it would encourage them to come over so that's what we did. Steph being the natural animal lover was loving it and was filming and trying to get them closer where I was slightly further back being a bit more weary. The sea lions swam around us and jumped out of the water as if they were trying to show off and generally had a good time. We were in the water for about 45mins in the end trying to get footage on our go pros and trying to get the perfect selfie with a sea lion!

When our time was up we swam back to the boat and got on board before taking off our wetsuits and heading back to the harbour. We went a slightly different way back which gave us a bit of time to soak up the sun as it was now blue skies. Despite putting suncream on again I managed to burn a strange triangle shape on my one knee so I now have a burnt knee cap. Once back at the harbour we managed to get changed and was picked up by Fernando to go back to the hotel. It was about 2.30pm by this time so we headed down to the paragliding area again to see if it was possible to do. Unfortunately the wind wasn't strong enough again and we weren't able to do it. We were told that there actually hadn't been any wind for the last week and that there was the option to do paragliding a 45 min bus ride away but we couldn't do that until tomorrow and as we leave tomorrow morning it wasn't possible. Steph was gutted and I was a bit too, I guess I'll still never know whether I would have done it but I think I would have, it looked exciting.

We carried on walking and got some drinks at a bar overlooking the sea which was beautiful and took some more photos in the park before heading back to the hotel to sort our bags out as our pickup was at 5.40 the next morning. Whilst sorting our bags out we heard a strange beeping noise and couldn't work out where it was coming from at first. Steph then located the noise was coming from the hotel safe in the wardrobe where the number 666 was automatically being typed in like someone was pressing it! It kept doing it over and over then erroring and then doing it again. Eventually I had to go down to reception to explain what was happening as it was doing our head in. They sent the same handyman up who had resolved the bath plug fiasco and father some bashing and banging eventually he had to carry the safe out of the room as he couldn't stop it beeping and then he brought a brand new one in! I don't know what was going on with it, we hadn't even used the safe! Later on we walked it for dinner and ended up at a Mexican restaurant before having an early night ready to be awake at 5am (again!).


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